ULI/Hines Urban Design Competition 2009: Alameda Station in South Denver
Natural succession occurs in nature when a dead or dying forest slowly grows back in different phases with different plants thriving at different times. My team’s concept, Urban Succession, follows this central metaphor. The shopping center at Alameda Station in south Denver is a dying suburban shopping center surrounded by an urban typology of development. In order to catalyze this urban succession, the existing grid pattern must be drawn through the approximately 70 acre site and the density and escalating rents be focused on two key areas: the light rail station on the western boundary of the site, and the new corners that are created by extending the urban street grid pattern. The programming allows for the continuation of the existing ‘big box’ tenants in a new urban format, and strategically adds different land-uses at the appropriate times to ensure the urban succession works efficiently. The arched central street that connects two open public spaces creates the intriguing visual cue of wanting to follow this street to see what lies ahead. We stressed this mechanism as a way to appeal to pedestrians to move from the retail district of the site to the design district of the site. The surrounding residential neighborhoods, retail streets, and a light rail station provide the critical mass of people to support this development. By proposing a pedestrian bridge spanning the rail and I-25 corridor to the west, and more development across this barrier, we laid the plans to reclaim the industrial Platte River in 2050; making a complete urban transformation of a suburban shopping center and industrial corridor – further expanding the reach of urban succession and density.